Rhetoric trivializes the Holocaust
Inflammatory language, unfortunately, is all too common in today’s political environment. I’ll err on the side of caution and hope that the individual interviewed in a Feb. 9 BDN article about the sudden closure of Downeast Correctional Facility did not actually believe Gov. Paul LePage’s actions were comparable to the Gestapo, Adolf Hitler’s secret police. The Bangor Daily News’ choice of publishing this article in such a sensationalized manner is grossly irresponsible.
As a child, I was blessed to have spent time with one of the kindest souls I’ve ever come to know, Helen Chojnacki. Chojnacki was born in Poland, where in her early teens she witnessed her brother murdered before her eyes and the rest of her family loaded on to train cars, never to be seen again. She was fortunately able to hide under the basement stairs, where her would-be murderers couldn’t find her.
Chojnacki experienced Gestapo tactics and raids. To brazenly assert that the closing of a prison, no matter how early in the morning, is in some way similar to the loathsome Gestapo is repugnant. The Gestapo never closed prisons; they filled them with millions of innocent Jews.
I call on us all to be more careful with our rhetoric, regardless of political party or ideology. We must not allow the events of the Holocaust to be trivialized by the use of such inflammatory statements. We are obligated to the survivors and the victims to ensure that we do not make such wildly inaccurate accusations, which ultimately minimize the true horror of the Holocaust.
I attended a concert recently. I’m not a security expert, but I do have a law enforcement background and training, along with more than 30 years of doing security work for various companies both in Maine and Florida. Naturally, I am going to notice what is going on with security at every event I attend.
There were two uniformed police officers involved in a casual conversation, but their backs were turned away from the entrance. The contract security guards were hesitant to pull people to the side when the scanners went off. I was one of them. I don’t blame the guards. They were probably told this was a low-level threat event and to not check everyone. Before the event, 200 people were allowed in before security arrived for a special pre-concert dinner.
It was a soft target for sure. Someone could have burst through the doors, taken out the two police officers first — that’s what usually happens — and proceeded to massacre anyone he or she could.
I was in an emergency room last October. One private security officer was stuffing his face with potato chips and totally bored. He was hardly alert. He started twirling the IV bag holder on the top of an IV pole. I have worked in an ER as a security guard in the past. You never know who is coming through the door.
The only thing that will change this scenario is a mass shooting or bombing, and that is very sad.
Youth demand change
I believe the young people of this nation have it within their power to make Congress act to change the gun laws of the United States.
There is a National Association of Student Councils that is affiliated with the high schools in every state. The association could organize a rally day in every congressional district, plan a well-publicized simultaneous rally in each state, invite and demand every congressperson attend their district’s rally under shame for failure to attend where youth leaders could address and demand change.
The voices of our youth and the pressure they create should change the atmosphere where “doing nothing” is OK. While I don’t anticipate changes that would prevent another shooting from happening, it could go a long way to reducing the frequency. It’s worth a try.
Don’t give killers attention
Every mass killer has the same ultimate goal: the notoriety and attention the act will bring them. Without exception, the media in its many forms obliges them, with their faces on the front page of every newspaper and broadcast on every television network, while countless reports describe every sordid detail of their lives. If this were to stop tomorrow, and it easily could, the single greatest motivator of these incidents would cease to exist.
In the name of social and moral responsibility, I call on the news media at large to set aside sales and viewership figures and voluntarily take this step to help ensure the safety of our populace. Let’s make the focus of the narrative those who have lost their lives and the heroes who save lives. Let’s make it a cultural norm to relegate the stories, names and very existence of the killers to the rubbish bin of our collective memory, never to be spoken of again.
Hayes for governor
I met Terry Hayes when we participated in the Leadership Maine program. Leadership Maine is a year-long program put on by the Maine Development Foundation. I spent many hours with Hayes throughout that year and shared many experiences with her. Our class toured areas of the state together and discussed the advantages and challenges of living and doing business in Maine.
I learned a great deal about Hayes throughout that year, and I came to respect her views and her insight. Hayes and I may not always agree on every issue, but what we do agree on is that Maine is a great place to live and do business. I do know she will always do the right thing for the right reason and work to bring civility, compassion, a level head and a deep love for the state we all live in to whatever she does.
I wish Hayes the best of luck in her campaign and hope you will join me in supporting her to be our next governor. Show your support by making a $5 qualifying donation through the Maine Ethics Commission. This will help Hayes in her commitment to get “big money” out of Maine politics and go to work for us — the people of Maine.